Periphery [series]: Ritual of Life

Electro-documentary : trip through British suburban architecture and landscape.

Music: Sven Väth (electronic)


Urbanism of the Hashtag

Human being by nature does not belong to any category; society provides room blocks in which everyone may find identity.These rooms are not supplied with doors or windows as they represent group categorical choices devoid of any interaction.

A fashionable visual order mania has led to an increasing success of the group idea as the expression of a need for safety and recognition. However, all this flimsy culture of appearance has cut the breath to the crinkling nuances of colour that may instead paint our everyday living. Man, as author of his own portrait, has the ability to decide whether to depict himself by using severe contours or draw meek lines that his conscious hand defines over time. A profound portrait is not a face that appears as something different from the subject itself; it is rather a set of arguments that find space in the vast discourse of our inner being.

If the cities we live in define us as group participants, if zones that speak a language of constraints are designed without our consent, we are tacitly observing a phenomenon that induces – for lack of time and thought – to an oversimplification of our portrait, transforming it into an entangled Mondrian-like grid. Our distinguishing marks, our wrinkles, the shape of our lips and depth of our scars will thus disappear under the thickness of a monotonous prototype, so as to become the target of a marketing operation that rips with violence the clothes we wear in order to force us to find ourselves in what does not represent us.

The advertising world has wisely created the opposite process of addition; it has reduced the image – polysemous by nature, as Roland Barthes states in ‘Rethoric of the Image’ [1977] – to a stereotype, typifying what it cannot purchase.

Think of a hashtag that by its very structure encloses a square between the lines of eight unfinished forms. The central space may symbolise the group we decide to spend our lives in; the other eight incomplete shapes – that define the former – are the other identities we choose to ignore and hide behind the strictly imposed one.The concept of reduction is slowly invading the still amorphous space of the web, creating a zoning that wraps our thoughts into silent rooms in which a one direction communication takes place only with ourselves; a place that lives for itself instead of being designed for those who experience it; a space that might resemble the one imagined by Zbigniew Rybczynski in his short film ‘Tango’ [ ]; a room in which millions of people pass through but none of them seems to see anyone else apart from himself; a lifetime commitment to our persona in the carful avoidance of others’ touch as for fear of altering the course of our useless fight against ourselves.

Such a room is currently inserted in a firm hashtag, infinitely reproducible; its walls – impenetrable, until now – may make a breach to finally give access to the eight incomplete squares and thereby allowing a flow of actions that makes every room an interactive space and eliminating once and for all any passive gathering of content. For this to be successful, the eight other squares must prevent any further enclosure of space, thus remaining imperfect just like us.